[JURIST] The former vice mayor of Beijing, Liu Zhihua, has been given a suspended death sentence for bribery and corruption, according to state media reports [Xinhua report] Sunday. Liu had been in charge of construction projects for China's capital city in preparation for the 2008 Olympic games. He had been elected to the position in 1999 and served until June 2006, when it was alleged that he received 6.97 million yuan ($1.02 million) in exchange for providing contracts, loans, and other favorable promotions for others. Six months after his removal, Liu was dismissed from the Communist Party of China (CPC) [official website; CFR backgrounder]. The death sentence was delayed for two years, which likely means that if Liu exhibits good behavior he will given life imprisonment. Liu's lawyer said he will likely appeal the verdict. AP has more. BBC News has additional coverage.
China has ramped up its anti-corruption efforts in the last couple of years. In 2007 the country established [Xinhua report] a National Bureau of Corruption Prevention (NBCP) to stop abuses of power and ensure China's compliance with the UN Convention Against Corruption [UN materials], which China signed in 2005. In 2006 over 97,000 Chinese officials were found guilty of bribery and other financial misconduct [BBC report].